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How Do You Make Recipient Sites in a Hair Transplant?

Q: How do you make the recipient sites in a hair transplant? — N.P., New Delhi, India

A: I make the recipient sites using 19-, 20-, 21- and 22-gauge needles. The higher the number, the finer the needle. The hairline is done with a 21-gauge, which is really very tiny. Eyebrow sites are created with a 22-. When one draws blood in a routine blood test, an 18-g needle is used and, of course, there are no residual marks. The instruments we use are significantly finer than this.

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What Are Differences Between Follicular Unit Transplantation, Follicular Unit Extraction, and Ultra-refined FUHT?

Q: What is the difference between the following ways of doing hair transplants: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), Ultra-refined FUHT, and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)?

A: Please see the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website as it explains Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) in detail.

In brief, with FUT, follicular units are obtained from the microscopic dissection of a donor strip that has been removed from the back of the scalp. In FUE, the doctor attempts to remove intact follicular units directly from the scalp via a small round instrument called a punch.

Ultra Refined FUHT (Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation) is term that Pat Hennessey uses on his Hair Transplant Network. It refers to using very tiny recipient sites, carefully dissected follicular unit grafts, and large hair transplant sessions in FUHT procedures.

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What is Follicular Unit Extraction and What Other Terms are Associated with the Procedure?

Q: I am considering having an FUE procedure and have heard the phrases topping, capping, and tethering as part of the procedure. What do all these terms mean?

A: These are all terms that refer to the types of injury that can occur to grafts during a follicular unit extraction procedure.

In FUE, a sharp instrument (or sharp instrument followed by a blunt one) is used to separate follicular units from the surrounding donor tissue. Forceps are then used to remove the follicular units from the scalp.

Topping occurs in the first step when the doctor accidentally cuts off the top of the graft so that the remainder of the graft cannot be removed.

Capping occurs when the doctor grabs a graft with forceps and the top of the graft (the epidermis and upper dermis) pulls off, leaving the rest of the graft behind.

Tethering occurs when the bottom of the graft is still attached to the deeper tissues after the first step causing the follicular unit to pull apart during extraction.

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Can I Have a Hair Transplant if My Scalp is Tight from Prior Surgery?

Q: What can be done if I want to have a hair transplant and my scalp is very tight from prior surgeries?

A: Follicular Unit Extraction is ideal in very tight scalps, provided that there is enough hair to extract without leaving the donor area too thin and provided that the follicles are not too distorted from the scarring.

With strip harvesting, undermining techniques may be helpful to close the wound edges once the strip is removed.

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